Mountain Bikers, Triatheletes, and Marathon Runners, Oh My!
This weekend's Philly Phlyer may eventually be remembered by some seasoned vets as just another rainy ECCC road race. But for a group of mountain bikers, triatheletes, and even a marathon runner, the 2009 Philly Phlyer will be remembered as their first ever weekend of road racing. Unfortunately, for many of the Penn State riders entered in the D Circuit Race, this would also be their first experience with a crash in a road race. Despite the troubles, Andy Haughton, president of our Tri Club, was able to cruise to an easy victory after riding off the front without any attempt from the peloton to chase him down.
Sunday morning's TTT had very wet and miserable riding conditions. Even with two of the riders dropping off early on due to being beaten up from the previous day's crashes, Andy Haughton was able to lead our team to a second place finish with the help of fellow triathelete Troy Stam.
Although the roads did not entirely dry out for the crit, the racing conditions were much improved over the time trial. To avoid the possibility of another mass crash, we entered the race with a new strategy: keep the pace fast to drop the weaker riders early and spread out the field. By having a large number of PSU riders near the front, we were able to keep pushing the pace while having riders in ample position to gain points in the primes. When the bell sounded with one to go, I sprinted off the front causing most of the riders in the field who chased to burn out just halfway into the final lap. Andy Haughton, who was able to remain protected in the draft for much of the race, was then able to move through the field of tired riders and sprint to the finish for his second victory of the weekend.
Although the weekend left many riders and bikes beaten up and abused, overall, it was a successful, fun weekend for a large group of first time road racers.